Here are some tips and best practices when serving ads.
The first online display ad, shown for AT&T back in 1994, had a CTR of 44%. These days, CTRs of <2% are more common.
But don't be disappointed. Here are some tips to improve your CTR.
CTR = clicks/impressions*100, you can improve the CTR by either lowering impressions or increasing clicks.
- Lazy loading. Enable lazy loading of ads below the fold. In order to receive a click, an ad must simply be seen first. AdGlare's lazy loading feature only shows an ad when the ad unit is in view. This way, an impression will only be counted when the ad had a chance to be actually seen. Lower impression numbers + same amount of clicks = higher CTR.
- Bot filtering. Bots typically don't click. They load pages for various reasons, including your ads. You can filter GIVT and SIVT traffic from your reports retrospectively, so that bot traffic don't inflate impression numbers. This eventually leads to higher CTRs.
- Ad placement. Don't burry ads at the bottom of a page. Place ads in a prominent location: in the sidebar, at the top of a page or insert them into the main content of the page. In order words, place them where the user's eyes naturally go when scanning the page.
- Context. An ad for a new car in an article about home mortgages? Odds are that people who are trying to buy a house don't have money for a new car at that moment. Use common sense when assigning ads to certain pages.
- Targeting. French people speak horribly English. I know that because I live in France :) If a user doesn't understand the message in an ad, why click on it? Avoid this by targeting ads with English messages to English-speaking people. Then we also have cultural differences. Some marketing messages that work well in Western countries may not resonate with Eastern audiences, and vice versa.
- Use borders. As a publisher, you may have ad specification guidelines saying that ads should have a clear contrasting border. Without contrasting edges, it may be ambiguous that the image is an ad. See this article for an example. In such a case, users may simply not click as they don't expect the image to be clickable.
- Ad speed. Make sure ads load quickly, let's say in less than 200 milliseconds. I've seen ads loading after 2 seconds, during which the ad unit remained blank. If a user scrolls down before the ad loads, it's a missed opportunity. Use tools like AdValify.io to test your ad's load speed.